THE REVOLT IN CHICAGO.
THE Socialists, or, rather, the Anarchist Societies embedded in the general Socialist party, have made the grand mistake of their lives. At a blow they have tripled alike the energy and the resources of the friends of order throughout the world. Driven from Europe by continuous pressure, some of the most violent of the anarchist leaders have taken refuge in the United States, and have there become more violent still. There is a fancy in England that Socialists become more gentle under Republican institutions ; but the experience alike of France and America shows that they grow fiercer, that theoretic equality in politics throws up the inequalities pro- duced by wealth into stronger relief ; and that perfect freedom of utterance makes of the wildest spirits leaders, and tempts them to guano the minds of their followers with incessant incitements. The foreign anarchists in America have gradually become more and more fanatic, until they have at last thrown prudence to the winds and prematurely revealed themselves to Americans as they are. It is probable that the spread of uneasiness among American artisans, who are struggling every- where for shorter hours, the reduction of wages, which is going on in America as in Europe, and the profound in- difference of Americans to incitements in print, deceived the anarchists in Chicago, or they may have grown too furious to bear restraint; but they began pouring out papers full of direct incentives to murder and arson, collected explosives, bombs, and revolvers, and when beaten in a minor riot, resolved on insurrection. On May 4th their principal organ published the following outrageous call to arms :— "A war of classes is at hand. Yesterday working men were shot down in front of McCormick's factory, whose blood cries out for revenge. Who will deny that the tigers who rule us are greedy for the blood of the working man ? But the working men are not sheep, and will reply to the White Terror with the Red Terror. Sooner death than life in misery ! If the working men are to be shot at, let us answer in such a way that the robbers will not soon forget it. The murderous capitalistic beasts have been made drunk by the smoking blood of our working men. The tiger is crouching for a spring. Its eyes glare murderously. It moves its tail impatiently, and all its muscles are tense. Absolute necessity forces the cry— To arms ! To arms ! If you do not defend yourselves, you will be brn and mutilated by the fangs of the beast. The new yoke which awaits you in ease of cowardly retreat is harder and heavier than the bitter yoke of your present slavery. All the powers opposed to labour have united. They see their common interest in such day s as these. All else must be subordinate to one thought, how can these wealthy robbers and their hired bands of murderers be made harmless ? Meanly dressed women and children in miserable huts wept for husbands and fathers yesterday. In the palaces they still fill the goblets with costly wine, and pledge the health of the bloody banditti of order. Dry your tears, ye poor and suffering ! Take heart, ye slaves ! Rise in your might, and level the existing robber rule with the dust. The heroes of the club yesterday pounded brutally with their eubs a number of girls, many of whom were mere children. Whose blood does not course more swiftly through his veins when he hears of this outrage P Whoever is a man mast show it to day. Men to the front !"
The summons was obeyed the same evening, 15,000 Socialists, principally Slays and South Germans, assembling at 10 o'clock at night in Haymarket Square, where they were addressed by Augustus Spies and other leaders in still more violent lan- guage. The police ordered them to disperse ; but the leaders, standing on a planked waggon, adjured the Socialists to resist, and one of them flung from his elevation a dynamite-bomb among the advancing constables. The explosion shattered twenty-nine men, and the police momentarily recoiled, but, encouraged by their officers, opened a sharp fire from their revolvers, and then charged with their clubs. The Socialists, one-half of whom have passed through different armies, stood their ground like soldiers, and returned the fire ; but revolvers are exhaustible, and at last they turned and fled, leaving between eighty and one hundred of their own number and the police dead, dying, or with shattered limbs. Since the Com- mune fell, no anarchist movement has been attended with such slaughter.
The leaders must have fancied that with 15,000 men behind them they could cow the authorities ; but they failed to per- ceive where American institutions are strong. Neither the Governor of Illinois nor the Mayor of Chicago are elected by any Assembly ; they are irremoveable for their term of office, and they know perfectly well that their constituents are in the main Americans, that is, Englishmen released from some of our traditional withes. They have no general ignorance of the circumstances to fear, for each State is a watertight compart- ment in the Union ship, and its people are as well aware of the course of events as villager* are of a riot in the High Street. The Governor, therefore, offered the armed militia, and the Mayor, declining that assistance, ordered the police and militia of the city to use their weapons at once, supplied the police with rifles in addition to their revolvers, and announced his resolution to put down the Socialists by an unsparing exercise of force. Nor were the lawyers idle. They know that when society is attacked they can rely on American juries ; and with a decision that would appal Sir Charles Russell, the City Prosecutor procured the arrest of all the leaders who had not fled, of all con- nected with the incendiary journals, even the compositors, and of all known to have fought in the riots, and indicted them all, not for sedition, or conspiracy, or unlawful language, but for wilful murder. The intention is to hang them off-hind, and it is very doubtful whether even an acquittal would save them, for that kind of susurrus is rising in Chicago which means that if the evil cannot be stamped out otherwise, a Vigilance Com- mittee will take the law into their own hands, and restore social order by suspending civilisation for three days. The Socialists fanatic enough to fight cannot be twenty thousand strong, and though they are mostly drilled, so are- the Americans, of whom 150,000 stand round them in the city, supported by double that number of trained freeholders in the State. Society under such circumstances is only made irresistible by open attack, and it is certain that the citizens will act decisively, for the massacre of the police has produced an explosion of feeling throughout the Union, and quiet men everywhere are announcing a resolution to "stamp out" the dynamitards. The very artisans on strike have offered their armed assistance, and the great body of timber-cutters, who are specially threatened, have armed themselves under leaders, and "propose to defend their lumber-yards for them- selves." The native Americans, when roused, control the local Legislatures, and we fully expect, more especially if the Socialists try to burn Chicago, to see laws passed making the possession of explosives, entrance into Anarchist societies, an& printed incitements to murder acts of treason, punishable with death. The fanatics have, in fact, roused Americans to the temper to which Luther was roused by the atrocities of the Peasants' War and the Anabaptist outbreaks, and in which he maintained, to the horror of subsequent commentators, that for such attacks on society, suppression by slaughter was the only remedy. Precisely the same thing happened in Pennsylvania when the "Molly Maguires" became in- tolerable ; and as Americans thus roused are irresistible, the anarchists will for the time being, be suppressed.
America is safe, and the reflex influence of the incident in Europe will be very great. There is not a country on this side of the water in which Ministers of State will not point to the outbreak in Chicago, to the language of the anarchist leaders, who, even since their arrest, have justified the slaughter of the police as "the hirelings of capitalists," and to the determined action of the American authorities, as their own complete justification ; and they will be thus far right. In Illinois the anarchists are avowedly not striking at institu- tions. They could not make the State more democratic if tney were its masters to-morrow. They could not, if they framed the laws themselves, enjoy more liberty of utterance. They could not, even if they ruled, have more complete license to collect weapons of destruction. They may all be armed, they may all be drilled, they may all collect explosives. All they may not do is pillage, burn, or kill ; and it is these things which they say they will do, for the suppression of capital, property, and individual- ism. This the European statesmen will say is their real, design, and not the removal of grievances, and they will be believed. If Americans, Prince Bismarck will argue, make rioting capital, surely we, with our more complex society to protect, are justified in firing on Socialist mobs. If they, with their unbounded liberty of speech, find it needful to make " incitements " treason, I have been right all along in urging that course. If they, with their merciful ways, send Socialists to the gallows, we are moderate in only sending them to prison. And though we know what the answer is to such arguments,. namely, that repression stops discussion as well as incitement, and that social missionaries are treated like social incendiaries, we do not know as regards such anarchists as those of Chicago where the answer is. What preventive can there be for murder with a social object, except to include it among other murders,. and arm society with the rights with which, when he is threatened with murder, we arm the individual, that is, the right to kill at once in self-defence? That will be the con- viction throughout Europe, and the anarchists will find that by their outbreak in America they have torn away
the last bulwark which protected them—namely, the lingering belief that they were men half-crazed by the pressure of intolerable tyranny. Where is the tyranny in Illinois, unless it be tyranny to insist that the Decalogue, whether accepted or not, shall not be openly defied ? That there may be a defence for the anarchists in the eyes of God is conceivable, for we know little about moral insanity, and if there be such a disease, many of them are certainly its victims ; but what the defence in the eyes of society can be we are unable to conceive. It is certainly not hunger, for one leader—Fielden, or Fielding— while urging the crowd to resist, urged also, as full reason for resistance, that they were compelled to live on 15s. a week, and food at least is cheaper in Chicago than in London.